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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

6938 reviews in the archive.

Washburn  B-18 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by andyh.h. (see all reviews from this person) on 5/29/2009

Where Purchased: Sun Music, Oregon

Year Purchased: 1978
Price Paid: $599+tax ($US)

Sound

loud, bright, sometimes too bright

Sound Rating: 6

Setup

very nice set-up....added a Hendrics bridge...took off clear head, put on a 5 Star

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Very nice....maple...inlays pretty nice

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

It has held up very well

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Tailiece failed...Washburn sent a new one after 20+ years..

Customer Service: 10

Components

components seem very strong

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Recommend, especially for the price...if stolen, I'd play my other banjos. I like it, but prefer a mellower tone. It's heavier than my RB250.

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by Unknown on 9/9/2003

Where Purchased: Previous owner

Year Purchased: 1996
Price Paid: 400 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Being a banjo with a clear head and an archtop, the sound is very crisp and bright. I was told by a gent who plays a $3500 Gibson that it had a very nice tone (and I don't think he was just trying to be nice)!

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Action was uneven, needed a new bridge, rim was semi-elliptical, etc. When I was making the deal with the owner, I simply told him what the luthier told me and he was willing to adjust the price to offset the needed changes. I don't think these things were the fault of Washburn. The instrument hadn't been played or taken care of for years.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

Fit, finish, and inlay work are very nice. Nothing really fancy. But the craftsmanship of a 1983 era Japanese banjo is noteworthy! The clear Remo head also shows off the heavy bell-bronze tone ring and truss rods.

Appearance Rating: 9

Reliability

Initially it was tough to keep in tune until I started hanging it by the neck. That has helped tremendously. Finish has endured and tuners stay put. If I was more accomplished, I'd be willing to play it before anyone.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

I called Washburn's customer service dept. trying to find out some history on the banjo, but was told they never made that model??!!!?? Finally, after calling back and talking to a different department, the gent had a photocopy of the sales sheet for the B-18 and told me it was their top-end banjo and would be comparible to banjos selling for $2000+ today. Whether he was saying that to be nice, or not, it was nice to hear.

Customer Service: 7

Components

It's a pretty solid unit. Only the bridge was replaced. Maybe because of the luthier's preference.

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

I think I got a great banjo for the money. I've heard it described this way...I paid a fraction of the cost of a fantastic banjo, but got 80-90% of the tone and quality. To get that last 10%, or so, will cost dearly. Personally, I don't know if my untrained ear could tell the difference!

I'm glad I placed a Want Ad for a banjo!

Overall Rating: 9

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